UK clothes makers believe they could have begun making gowns and masks for front-line workers up to 10 days ago according to the BBC. The government says it is working "around the clock" to provide support to the NHS and social care staff. However, reports of worrying shortages of protective equipment for staff continues to flood in.
Now, factories are receiving calls directly from local hospitals saying "can you make us anything, we are desperate for any protective equipment, anything that you can provide", according to Make it British.
Make it British founder Kate Hills has hit back at the government response to the shortage of protective equipment for NHS staff.
She said: "Everyone in the whole world is looking for the PPE [personal protective equipment].
"We need to look at local suppliers and mobilise supply here."
Factories have been receiving calls directly from local hospitals asking for equipment
The government says it is working "around the clock" to provide support to the NHS and social care staff
Two weeks ago, the Cabinet Office distributed a survey to manufacturers asking what protective equipment they would be able to make.
Factories responded, yet have reportedly received no response from the government to order any supplies.
Meanwhile, staff in hospitals have complained they lack basic protective gear such as face masks or medical scrubs.
There have even been reports of some staff buying their own protective equipment.
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Staff in hospitals have complained they lack basic protective gear such as face masks or medical scrubs
However, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said 42.8 million gloves, 142,000 gowns and 2.3 million pairs of eye protectors have been delivered to 58,000 "health care settings", including hospitals and GP surgeries.
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Jenrick said the government "will not stop" to get personal protective equipment to frontline workers.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference he said: "We simply cannot and should not ask people to be on the frontline without the right protective equipment," he said at the daily Downing Street press conference.
The NHS and its suppliers have previously relied on imported stocks of that equipment from factories in Pakistan, India or Bangladesh, where it is cheaper to produce.
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The NHS and its suppliers have previously relied on imported stocks
Some staff have had to purchase their own protective equipment
However, a global epidemic has meant these factories have closed with local hospitals buying all the stock.
Now, manufacturers across the country have come forward to tell the government they can make the scrubs, gowns and masks that nurses and doctors so desperately need.
One advisor even said waiting for supplies from overseas is a "waste of time" and more of a focus needs to be put on British supplies.
Tamara Cincik - a consultant, and adviser to a Parliamentary group for the textile and fashion industry said: "Waiting for supplies from China, Turkey, Egypt is a waste of time, prices will escalate and ultimately run out."
The importance of social distancing
The British Medical Association also warned that the deaths of frontline medical staff in Italy "served as an urgent warning" to British government over the supply of PPE equipment.
This comes after first NHS frontline worker died after contracting COVID-19 this week.
Amged El-Hawrani, died on Saturday night after contracting the virus University Hospitals of Burton and Derby have confirmed.
Amged’s son Ashraf, said: "Most of my Dad's time was dedicated towards his family, and the rest of that time was dedicated towards his profession.
Manufacturers across the country have come forward to tell the government they can produce this equipment
"He taught me the significance of respect and equality.
"He also stressed the importance of not worrying about the things I cannot control, which he displayed to me right up until the end of his life.
"He did not seek the praise and approval of others, he was satisfied by viewing the positive effects of his actions and the wellbeing of his family.
"I am incredibly proud to say that for 18 years of my life, Amged El-Hawrani was my father."